South Pasadena Parent Teacher Association Council invited volunteers and school board members to a lovely luncheon held at the district building on Wednesday May 9. PTA Council President, Grace Kung, greeted guests and expressed her emotion as she described this event as one of the more moving events of the year. Kung thanked all the volunteers before proceeding to honor six individuals for outstanding service this past year.
Sara Austin, who was unable to attend, was honored by Kung with a Certificate of Appreciation for clearly going above and beyond as the Special Needs Committee Chair and coordinating a very successful biennial Special Needs Conference attended by our community and neighboring cities. “She has such a huge heart to help all families with special needs; you’ll see her at the support groups, she prepares the education nights and will be continuing in her role as Special Needs Committee Chair and I am honored to be able to thank her publicly on behalf of the PTA Council,” said Kung.
Next up was an Honorary Service Award for Adrian Gonzalez-Pacheco for enthusiastically continuing to chair and coordinate the annual All City Track Meet since 2008, which benefits all schools in the city. He is also the track coach at the middle school and a referee for AYSO. Gonzalez-Pacheco is known for endless long nights working on the track meet in April and his dedication to the kids year round. Gonzalez-Pacheco was very proud of all the kids and spoke of all the middle school teams who won league, virtually all of them save for the 8th grade girls who came in 2nd. He also said he is committed to the All City Track Meet “as long as I am able!”
Julie Guilioni awarded Certificates of Appreciation to the entire Yes on S Committee for their massive contribution to renew the Parcel Tax Measure S which benefits SPUSD schools for seven more years. Guilioni explained that after worrying about who might take the lead on this effort, “yet again the cream rose to the top here in our community and we saw a leadership committee come together like none other.” Committee members joined Guilioni at the podium to thunderous applause from all in attendance. “It really does take a village to educate our kids and this really is a remarkable village,” continued Guilioni, “the “S” really stands for these superheroes; the heroes of our schools and our students and our staff, who make it possible to do what we do here in South Pasadena.”
The Yes on Measure S committee chairs, Sara Shaffer and Saida Staudenmaier, were each singled out for Honorary Service Awards for leading the charge to an overwhelming victory. Lisa Rosenberg explained that she said yes to coming on board the committee because “I would follow them into hell! Because they know how to run a meeting, how to run a committee and how to run an unprecedented, successful, political campaign.” She went on to say, “they organized people, wrote articles, took photos, made phone calls and used up all of their cellular data minutes by the middle of each month. They assembled a group of community leaders who, led by Saida and Sara’s own example, they inspired to keep going until election day.”
Staudenmaier said, “it takes a small army to accomplish this feat and Sara and I could never have pulled it off without everyone who stood here today and also our community at large. We appreciate the acknowledgement but we really do share it with everyone who fought to get that measure across the finish line.”
Finally, Kathleen Michel was honored with the Continued Service Award for her continuous volunteerism as PTA presidents for all levels of school, from elementary to middle to high, and helping the district and community as a SPEF board member overseeing their biggest annual fundraiser Parti Gras. Staudenmaier presented the award saying, “Kathleen doesn’t seek the spotlight; she shares her accomplishments with all who work alongside her. Her open mind and giving spirit helps create an environment where problems are solved and new ideas are supported. She is the embodiment of our PTA motto; to positively impact the lives of all children and families.”